By Arnie Kuenn published August 22, 2017

Content Amplification: How to Promote and Distribute Content Effectively

content-amplification-distribute-promote-content

For a long time, focusing on search intent and organic traffic was all you needed to be successful. That still holds true for organic traffic.

However, organic traffic is only one part of the complex puzzle that is digital marketing. As the adoption of content marketing has grown, so has competition for search terms and audience attention – especially in competitive industries. A lot of content pollution muddies the ocean of content marketing.

Let’s talk about a scary scenario: What happens when organic traffic isn’t driving the results you need to bring your business success? Or when you see results but not enough to make your boss/CEO/manager happy with your content marketing ROI?

The bottom line: If content is not converting on its own, it’s hard to prove the ROI of content marketing.

If content is not converting on its own, it’s hard to prove ROI of #contentmarketing, says @ArnieK. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

This doesn’t mean you should stop creating content. It just means that our ability to use channels outside of organic traffic to deliver our content to desired audiences has never been more essential. As competition for organic rankings climbs, so should your ability to think ahead.

In other words, don’t think that your work is done after creating content. Instead, adopt this philosophy: The very best content marketing strategy can only go as far as a great content amplification strategy will take it.

The best #contentmarketing strategy can go as far as a great amplification strategy takes it. @ArnieK #CMWorld Click To Tweet

maximum-content-reach

Image source

In fact, when we looked at a client of ours, we found that 50% of its traffic over six months came from a variety of sources other than organic:

  • Paid search
  • Display
  • Direct
  • Referral
  • Social media
  • Email

If we had focused on an “organic only” solution, we would have missed valuable traffic, leads, and conversions for their business. That’s why content promotion and distribution (or as we refer to it – content amplification) is a must for any digital marketing strategy.

What is content amplification?

Content amplification is a multichannel approach that uses paid, owned, and earned media to promote and distribute content. The goal of amplification is to increase your brand’s reach while encouraging your audience to move seamlessly through your sales funnel.

what-content-amplification-is-not

Content amplification is not a one-off task. It’s an in-depth practice that requires a lot of work to get right. Amplification is about making your owned, paid, and earned media efforts work together to drive the best results for your business. To get started, there are a few things you must do.

How to start amplifying your content

1. Determine your goals and KPIs

Make sure to establish obtainable goals with content amplification. Ask:

  • What do you want your content to accomplish for your business?
  • How do you want your audience to react to the content you promote and distribute?
  • Which channels do you have access to right now?
  • What’s the best-performing content on your site?
  • Which channels are performing best for your site?

Here are some KPIs and suggested goals to measure throughout your content amplification efforts:

content-kpis-and-goals-examples

2. Understand your customer’s journey

Using a cross-channel content strategy to re-engage your customers along their path to conversion is how you find success in content amplification. The channels and content types differ depending on the stage of the journey. Start by:

  • Mapping your customer’s journey and touchpoints before making a purchase
  • Identifying gaps in content or channels missing at each touchpoint
  • Filling those gaps with content or distribution channels you didn’t have
  • Measuring and optimizing at each step, evaluating where improvements can be made
Use a cross-channel content strategy to re-engage customers along path to conversion, says @ArnieK. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

customer-path-to-conversion

customer-stages-to-conversion

Awareness

The goal of content at this stage is to amuse, stimulate emotion, create brand awareness, and encourage your audience to research more information on your website. Awareness stage delivery channels are:

  • Remarketing (paid search and paid social)
  • Influencer marketing
  • Digital PR (press releases and media coverage)
  • Paid social media

Consideration

Your content at the consideration stage should teach your audience more about what they’re searching for while remaining specific to your offerings. Consideration delivery channels are:

  • Programmatic and paid search
  • Organic social
  • Lead nurture and email marketing

Decision

Now that the audience is ready to make a purchasing decision, your content should create a sense of urgency while offering a select value or promotion, reassuring them that they’re making the right choice by choosing you. Delivery channels at the decision stage include:

  • Paid search
  • Paid social
  • Influencer marketing
  • Lead nurture and email offers

Advocacy

You don’t have to stop delivering content to your audience just because a prospect is now a customer. At the advocacy stage, you should re-engage your audience, offer further support, and ask for feedback. Advocacy stage channels are often:

  • Lead nurture and email marketing
  • Organic social

3. Choose your channels

Now you’re ready to strategize on how to promote and distribute all that awesome content. You’ll want to thoroughly analyze your current channels and which ones you’ll need to build out to be successful. Ask, “Does this channel help reach the target audience(s)?” If the answer is yes, then it’s likely an effective place to promote your content.

What channels can you use?

By auditing the existing channels, you can decide whether they reach the audience you want to connect with. It’s important to think about both organic and paid channels, and how they could be used together.

It’s important to think about how organic & paid channels can work together, says @ArnieK. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

TIP: Paid, owned, and earned media should work as one unit not as separate strategies.

We recommend starting with organic (owned) channels and paid channels because you have the most control and oversight on these channels.

organic-and-paid-channels

4. Determine what content is needed to fill the gaps to reach your goals

Let’s look at the differences in what types of content you might need to run a cross-channel strategy, build, and retain your audience. This is by no means a conclusive list. Content type will vary based on things like your audience, your industry, your goals, and more. First let’s look at organic traffic.

Organic

The most successful content in driving organic traffic is extremely search-friendly content that appeals to questions the customer is asking about your industry, products, and services. Examples include:

  • Comparisons
  • Pricing information
  • Reviews
  • How-to
  • What is …?
  • Top lists by number
The most successful content in driving organic traffic answers questions the customer is asking, says @ArnieK. Click To Tweet

Paid

When thinking of paid content, you’ll want to create eye-catching creative and copy supported by fantastic landing-page experiences. For top-of-funnel audiences, the more interactive the supporting content resources are the better. Alternatively, for bottom-of-funnel audiences, content that creates urgency and offers special value can help increase conversion rates. Examples include:

  • Self-evaluations
  • Quizzes
  • Surveys
  • Discounts or coupons
  • Exclusive product offers
  • Free trials

Social

Create organic social content that appeals to your audiences’ interests, engages them with your brand, and builds community. Paid social content should integrate with organic efforts and help to bring awareness to your products and services. Examples include:

  • Contests
  • Giveaways
  • Exclusive communities or groups
  • Chats/discussions
  • Video (promotional, and non-promotional)
  • Referral programs

Lead nurture

Use all the helpful organic and social content you’re producing to re-engage leads that have come from your marketing efforts and deliver relevant content to them. The content will differ depending on the stage of the customer journey. Examples include:

  • Newsletters (unique to each segment)
  • Abandoned cart workflows
  • Post-download workflows
  • Post-request for information workflows
  • Post-purchase workflows

Influencer marketing

For this strategy to be fruitful, you’ll want to work with influencers to create (or help them create) content that will appeal to their fans and followers. This means taking a back seat and letting creative reign. Examples include:

  • Collaborative articles
  • Collaborative webinars/podcasts
  • Sponsored content on external sites
  • Sponsored social content on influencer channels
  • Social media takeovers

What’s next?

Establish processes around implementing all of the above with your team. Content amplification requires collaboration among your subject matter experts in paid media, social channels, content strategy, and more. Although the task at hand is complex, it can be mastered enough to quickly grow your content’s reach beyond its organic potential and drive more leads (and future revenue) to your business.

Learn more on content amplification from Arnie Kuenn and on dozens of other topics on content marketing from other experts at Content Marketing World Sept. 5-8. Register today using code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Arnie Kuenn

Arnie Kuenn is the CEO of Vertical Measures, a content marketing agency with an SEO foundation, focused on helping their clients get more traffic, more leads, and more business. Arnie has held executive positions in the world of new technologies and marketing for more than 25 years. He is a frequent speaker and author of Content Marketing Works. In 2014, Arnie was honored as the Interactive Person of the Year in Arizona. You can find Arnie on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn.

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  • Renato Furtado

    In small businesses, a marketer has the challenge of trying to implement the whole process. Is this feasible? How many people would be needed and with what characteristics to develop such a job?
    In small businesses, a marketer has the challenge of trying to implement the whole process. Is this feasible? How many people would be needed and with what characteristics to develop such a job?

  • WriterRoxanne

    I’m thrilled that you posted this, Arnie!! It’s a tremendous gift of valuable information and insights. Thank you, and thank you, Content Marketing Institute!!

  • heidicohen

    Arnie– I totally agree content marketers have to think beyond once & done distribution. Include your owned, social media & third party platforms. Even better create your related content at the same time to reduce content costs. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen – Actionable Marketing Guide

    • http://www.verticalmeasures.com/ Arnie Kuenn

      Great tip!

  • http://www.verticalmeasures.com/ Arnie Kuenn

    It’s so difficult to provide expectations in an article. Every situation is unique. And then proper testing and adjustment can make all the difference. All I can say is This Really Works! Our average paid media/amplification client saw increased leads of more than 140% and decreased costs of more than 40% in 2016.

  • Judi Jaques

    Great article thanks Arnie!
    I love the way automation can half the time of your content marketing strategy